for Louis Chude-Sokei

I went to graduate school because I was lonely
only to find myself

more lonely—lost scaling the canyons and breaches
of who I was and what I loved: books

women, ideology:
stuck in the brambles of politics and melanin.

Walking the stacks and quadrangles, at war
with my subject

positions, unable to locate my position
on any map;

I have become my invention. I have my theories.
The self is a theory, a way of walking, a history

and a geography, four and five dimensions, several
kinds of time: uncharted

terrain, and, look, there I am, lost on the shores
of my longing—

walking the campus of my limits, lost
and contemplating

the war I fought with sentiment, the war I lost
with solitude.

Copyright © 2001 by Anthony Walton. This poem was first printed in Notre Dame Review, Issue 11 (2001). Used with the permission of the author.